(NewsUSA) – While beach and traffic conditions might be out of your hands, your choices in the laundry room do affect the fit and feel of your favorite bathing suit.

Swim and athletic wear are meant to stay comfortable during activities. Those serious about the outdoors can invest a lot in durable, versatile clothing, making proper laundry care essential. The wrong wash cycle or dryer setting can cause swim and athletic gear to lose its strength or stretch — the qualities swimmers and runners need in clothing.

“Bathing suits and gym shorts are designed to take a beating and get tossed into lockers or beach bags,” said Tremitchell Wright of the Institute of Fabric Science. “However, even the nicest athletic gear can’t survive the wrong laundry cycle or additive. People should maintain their summer clothing like they would their favorite jeans or dress.”

The Institute of Fabric Science provides the following tips for athletes hoping to keep their clothing in good shape:

For Swimwear: Always follow the label’s instructions. In general, swimwear is best washed in warm or cold water on a gentle cycle, if not by hand. Chlorine bleach should only be used when necessary, as it may cause yellowing.

You can toss swimwear into the dryer, but choose a low heat setting on a permanent press cycle that includes a cool-down. Promptly remove the swimsuit to prevent wrinkling.

“In regards to swimwear, the key is to prevent shrinkage and wrinkles, since it is composed of nylon,” said Wright.

For Athletic Wear: Wash athletic wear in warm water, and tumble it dry on a low heat setting while the dryer drum is cool. Avoid liquid chlorine bleach, as it can lead to fiber breakage.

“Athletic wear is composed of lycra and spandex materials, so proper care maintains a comfortable stretch and elasticity,” explained Wright.

For All Lightweight Fabrics:

The right laundry machine can make all the difference. For families who plan to spend long weekends near the water, the Maytag Performance 2000 may be the ideal fit. The washing and drying pair is compact in size and can be stacked, making it perfect for smaller apartments or summer homes. Its cleaning action wipes out common summer stains, like sweat and fruit juice, while being gentle lightweight fabrics.

For more information, visit www.instituteoffabricscience.com.